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Fic: Time (Clock of the Heart): 2/2: L/R

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  • victoria p.
    disclaimers etc. in part 1. Time (Clock of the Heart) Part 2 *** At dinner that night, Rogue picked listlessly at her green beans. Scott had reported back to
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 23, 2003
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      disclaimers etc. in part 1.

      Time (Clock of the Heart)
      Part 2

      ***

      At dinner that night, Rogue picked listlessly at her green beans. Scott
      had reported back to Jean, who'd told her about Logan's response. She
      hadn't expected anything less from him, but still, it was depressing.

      Jubilee thumped her plate down onto the table next to Rogue's and
      winked. Rogue held her breath. This wasn't going to end well, she had a
      feeling, but she was committed to Plan B, at least for the moment.

      "You coming dancing with us tonight, chica?" Jubilee asked, breaking
      into her thoughts.

      "Uh--" She saw Logan enter the dining room. Their eyes met, and he
      looked away first.

      "Come on, Rogue. You've got to start going out. You can't wait around
      for Wolvie." Jubilee's voice was pitched so that there was no doubt in
      anyone's mind she wanted Logan to hear the conversation. "Why do you
      want him anyway? He's so old! He's -- Ow!"

      Logan turned and walked out. "You're not helping," Rogue said through
      gritted teeth, before hurrying after him.

      "Logan--" She got the raised eyebrow in response. She took a deep
      breath, blew it out. "She didn't mean it."

      "She's right, kid. I *am* too old for you." He started walking again,
      and she stood helplessly, unsure of what to say. At the door he turned
      and said, "If that's Plan B, I'm not impressed."

      She growled in frustration and muttered, "Dammit, Jubilee, if you've
      ruined this, I'm going to kill you."

      Of course, if she told Jubes what Logan had to say about Plan B, maybe
      that would light a fire under her ass. And Jubilee on fire was not
      something to be taken lightly. Rogue grinned reluctantly. Maybe things
      would work out after all.

      ***

      Rogue, Jubilee and Jean met over ice cream to plan out a strategy. Rogue
      played her hand carefully, egging Jubilee on but still slightly unsure
      that they'd be able to pull the whole thing off.

      "Jubes, I swear to God, I *told* you the age thing has him all freaked
      out. And what do you go and do but mention how he's too old for me!" She
      poked the air violently with her chocolate-syrup coated spoon. "I could
      kill you!"

      "That was a bit of a miscalculation," Jean said, laughing, "but I'm sure
      you've got something in mind to fix the damage, right, Jubilee?"

      Jubilee nodded. "Oh, yeah," she said. "Not to worry. It's all under
      control." She looked at Rogue. "Sprinkles?"

      "Please. How exactly is it 'under control'? If tonight was anything to
      go by--"

      "Rogue, baby, calm down," Jubilee said. "Trust me."

      "I hate when people say that to me."

      "Look, you just follow my lead, okay?"

      "Not if it leads where it did tonight, Jubes. I keep following you, I'm
      going to be driving Logan away instead of luring him close."

      "Luring?" Jean asked with a grin, looking up from her bowl of Dulce de
      Leche.

      "You know, with her feminine wiles," Jubilee said.

      "Oh, God," Rogue muttered, rubbing her forehead wearily. "I'm doomed."

      ***

      Logan was working on the motorcycle when Jubilee found him.

      "Look, Wolvie--"

      "Don't call me that."

      She ignored him. "I'm really sorry about yesterday. I totally don't
      think you're too old for Rogue. In fact, I think she needs somebody old,
      because she's got old guys in her head."

      He raised an eyebrow. He got the feeling she was supposed to be
      apologizing, but she was almost as bad at it as he was. She looked at
      him expectantly, but he gave her nothing.

      "Come on, you know you've got the hots for her."

      He turned back to the bike. If he wasn't going to discuss it with Cyke,
      who was at least old enough to drink, he *certainly* wasn't going to
      spill his guts to this teenager, even if she was trying to help Marie.

      Teenager.

      God, everywhere he looked, he had reminders that he was older than dirt
      (even if he didn't look or feel it) and Marie was eighteen.

      And this kid was right. He had the hots for her. He growled menacingly,
      but Jubilee wasn't even fazed.

      "Since she bought you the watch, I think you should reciprocate and buy
      her something nice," she was saying when he tuned back in.

      That idea struck a chord in him. He could give her a gift. There was
      nothing wrong with that. And she *had* gotten him the watch, which he'd
      grown attached to in the few days he'd had it.

      Against his better judgement, he was intrigued. "What did you have in
      mind?"

      "I'll take her shopping. You give me the money, I'll get her something
      nice."

      "And how do I know you're not just looking for someone to finance your
      own shopping spree?"

      She looked insulted. "Would I do that? Rogue is my best friend! I'm
      trying to help her out here, and to make up for yesterday."

      "You want to make up for insulting me by making me give you money. Yeah,
      I'll really go for that."

      "Look, I'll bring you back the receipts for everything we buy. Trust
      me." He growled in response to those words, so she hurried on, "It'll
      make Rogue happy."

      He rose in one easy movement, reached into his pocket and brought out
      his wallet. "Here," he said, counting bills out into her hand. "Three
      hundred bucks. You *better* spend it all on her, get her some nice shit,
      or you and me will have some words."

      She hugged him and was gone before he had a chance to react.

      "Thanks, Wolvie!" she called over her shoulder. "You won't regret this!"

      "I already do." He added, "And don't called me Wolvie!" but she was
      already gone.

      He went back to work, hoping that at least Rogue would get something
      nice out of all this, and that she'd forgive him if he hurt her with his
      reluctance.

      ***

      That afternoon, Jubilee dragged Rogue to the mall. "You have to feel
      sexy to look sexy," she said. "And your granny panties and sports bras
      are just not cutting it."

      "Hey!"

      "Have you ever worn a thong? Or even lacy undies? Be honest now, Rogue."
      She grabbed a pretty pair of purple satin panties in Rogue's size, and
      then rooted through the table to find the matching bra.

      "It never seemed important. I mean, who was going to see them? It's not
      like I can just get naked with someone at the drop of a hat, like some
      people."

      "Hey! I don't get naked at the drop of a hat! I just ... I have needs.
      And maybe you find it easy to stay chaste until Gruff and Growly gets a
      clue, but some of us don't have Mr. Right all picked out. We have to go
      out and find him."

      "Or Mr. Right Now, anyway." Rogue frowned at the red lace demi-cup bra
      Jubilee held up. "No red."

      "Whatever."

      "Jubes -- it's not like I don't *want* to have sex, and lots of it. But
      even if Logan weren't interested, it's not like guys are knocking down
      my door to be with me. Deadly skin, remember?" She fingered the silk of
      a green bra and looked it over thoughtfully.

      "How could I forget? You act like you're the only one who ever had
      relationship problems because of your mutation."

      Rogue gasped, her attention locked on her friend instead of the lingerie
      in front of them. "Is that what you think?"

      "I'm just saying. Nobody likes a martyr. You could have any guy you
      wanted, but you totally give off this 'untouchable' vibe, and it has
      nothing to do with your skin."

      "What does it have to do with then, huh?"

      "Logan. You buried yourself, waiting for him to come around. And while I
      think it's great that he finally has, and I'm gonna do everything I can
      to help you snag him, I don't think you should cut off all your other
      options."

      "What other options?" Rogue's voice rose, and people began shooting
      sidelong glances their way.

      "Bobby. Remy. Piotr," Jubilee counted off. "And that's just the
      beginning."

      "I--"

      Jubilee interrupted, pulling a cameo pink bra out of the pile on the
      table. "This is it, Rogue. This is your color."

      Rogue blinked. She was used to Jubilee's short attention span, and she
      didn't really want to have that conversation in the middle of Victoria's
      Secret, but even she was thrown by the rapid change in subject.

      "It's very... pink," she said doubtfully. Heedless of the danger,
      Jubilee held the bra up to Rogue's face. Rogue flinched. "Jubes!"

      "Look in the mirror, chica. It's you. It's *so* you."

      Rogue took the flimsy garment from Jubilee and walked over to the
      full-length mirror on the wall. She pressed the soft silk to her cheek,
      and was amazed at how it seemed to make her skin glow with health. She
      lost herself in a brief fantasy of Logan seeing her in the bra and, more
      interestingly, seeing her take it off.

      "I think you're right," she said. She made a beeline for the table where
      Jubilee had found the bra, looking for the matching bikinis.

      After that, it didn't take long for Rogue to get into the spirit of the
      afternoon. It was all so new to her, the idea of exposing skin as a
      means of attraction. She spent so much time trying to keep people away
      from her skin, and now she was deliberation looking to attract someone,
      well, Logan; her whole world felt slightly tilted.

      She bought other things as well, dainty, lacy things in green and gold
      and black and white. Camisoles edged with lace and matching tap pants
      that made her feel a little naughty. A cobalt-colored teddy made of silk
      so fine it felt like air against her skin.

      She hadn't thought about how she was going to pay for everything,
      floating on the fantasy of modeling it all for Logan, until she reached
      the counter.

      "Cash or charge?"

      "Uh--"

      "Cash," Jubilee said, peeling off three one-hundred-dollar bills and
      laying them on the counter. She took the six dollars change from the
      cashier and said, "Excellent. We still have enough to get you one of
      those mochaccino lattes you're so fond of."

      "Jubes, I can't let you spend that kind of money on me. That's crazy!"

      "That's Logan's dough, babe."

      Rogue's mouth formed the word, "Logan?" but no sound came out. After a
      few seconds, voice working again, she said, "Logan? What? How-- Jubilee!
      Did you steal money from Logan?"

      "Oh, as if, Rogue. The man is so paranoid he probably sleeps with his
      wallet under his pillow." She smirked and held up one of the pink
      striped shopping bags. "Here's to hoping you get a chance to find out.
      But no, I told him he should get you something nice in return for the
      watch. And voila! He gave me money and told me to show you a good time."
      The smirk widened into a grin. "He really has it bad for you, Rogue."

      Jubilee wouldn't say any more, and she wouldn't take the money Rogue
      offered her to help pay for the lingerie she'd bought. Rogue felt a
      small pang that Logan was talking to Jubilee, and not to her, but she
      pushed it down.

      They stopped at Starbucks on the way out of the mall, and got
      mochaccinos, pleased with the way their afternoon had gone.

      On the ride back to the mansion, Rogue asked, "So, what's next?"

      Jubilee gave her another wicked grin. "Plan B is multifaceted. Tonight,
      we go out dancing."

      "With Logan?"

      Jubilee burst into laughter. "No, Rogue. We're not going to some
      honkytonk where Wolvie can two-step with you. We're getting dressed up
      and going clubbing. We're going to show him he's not the only fish in
      the sea, and if he doesn't want you, someone else does."

      "I don't know, Jubes. I--"

      "Would you just trust me?"

      "It sends a shiver down my spine whenever you say that."

      "Heh. Look, I want you to get what you want. You deserve it. So, just
      trust me."

      And with that, Rogue had to be content.

      ***

      When Logan got back to his room that evening, he knew Jubilee had been
      around because the scent of L'Air du Temps lingered in the hallway. He
      found an envelope on the floor when he opened the door to his room.

      It contained a receipt from Victoria's Secret ("Oh, God, she's trying to
      kill me," he muttered, imagining Rogue in any number of outfits from the
      lingerie emporium) and a note that said, "And there was enough left to
      go for coffee! Thanks!"

      He went looking for Rogue, hoping to talk (and maybe see what exactly
      he'd bought her) but she was out. Dancing, Storm said, with a smile.
      Rogue was out dancing, very likely wearing fancy underwear *he'd* paid
      for.

      The next few nights were the same. Whenever he went looking for Rogue,
      thinking that he could spend some time with her while he figured out
      what he was going to do, she was out. Dancing, movies, parties --
      "Christ, Chuck, what the hell kind of school are you running?" he
      growled the fourth night, when Xavier told him that Rogue had gone into
      the city with Bobby and the other boys.

      "It's best for them to have freedom, Logan," Xavier replied mildly. "It
      gives them a sense of being in the world, no matter how much the world
      might like to be rid of them. They're not children, Logan, and I have no
      right to impose strictures on their social lives."

      And he was right. Logan knew it.

      The idea of Rogue as an adult -- and was recognized *as* an adult by
      other adults -- was enough to send him back to his room to think. Or
      jerk off. Or both, because thinking about Marie generally led to jerking
      off. And he finally allowed himself to believe that it was okay to think
      of her that way, and that she thought of him that way.

      Because he could no longer deny that though she was young, she wasn't a
      child, and she was taking responsibility for her life. She wasn't
      waiting around for him. She wasn't a clingy, helpless child in need of
      protection, and he wasn't her father or her brother. She was out there
      living her life, and he wanted to be a part of it.

      If she could find time for him in her busy schedule.

      The next morning at breakfast, Jubilee could be heard telling anyone who
      stood still long enough to listen how Rogue had flustered their waiter
      so much by flirting with him that he'd spilled water all over Remy.

      And Remy-- Just the thought of the Cajun being around Marie, taking her
      dancing, no doubt trying to cop a feel... the growl rose in his throat
      every time.

      He knew, though, that they were manipulating him and he was responding
      exactly the way Jubilee wanted. And that just wasn't the way things
      worked. He was the Wolverine. He wasn't going to be tricked into
      anything, trapped by a bunch of scheming women.

      Two days later, he found another note under his door. This one said, "If
      you want some alone-time with Rogue, be in the gym at five am on Sunday
      morning."

      He knew he would be there, regardless of this game he was playing with
      the little firecracker. Because he *did* want to spend time with Rogue,
      and this way, it would look accidental.

      He got up at four on Sunday morning, and debated with himself about the
      best way to arrange things to his own advantage. At first, he thought
      being in the gym when she arrived was the way to go, but then he thought
      she might not join him, might just go out of her way to avoid him, as
      he'd avoided her earlier. And that wasn't good.

      So, he waited, sitting on the end of the bed, until he heard her pass
      his door. Five am on the nose.

      He'd learned, in the time he'd been back, that she was not a morning
      person at all, and he wondered why she chose to get up at the crack of
      dawn on the one morning she could usually sleep in. Even Scott didn't
      schedule lessons early on Sundays.

      He waited another fifteen minutes before making his way down to the gym.
      He padded on bare feet, not wanting to give her any time to get away. He
      pushed the door open and caught his breath.

      She had her back to him, but was reflected in the mirrored wall, her
      body limned by the dawn light that filtered through the small, high-set
      windows. She wore only a pair of black bicycle shorts and a black tank
      top. He'd never seen so much of her bare skin. She was luminous.

      She moved slowly through stretching exercises he recognized as tai chi,
      graceful and lithe, and he now understood why she gave up precious sleep
      to do this. It was the only time she bared her skin outside of her own
      room, the only time she was free to work out without worrying about
      brushing up against one of the others. The focused yet content
      expression she wore made his heart ache in his chest. He couldn't take
      that away from her, so he simply watched from the doorway, unobserved.

      He knew that his indecision was hurting her, but he resented feeling
      like a puppet, with Jubilee pulling his strings. He would tell Rogue
      about his feelings in his own time, and in his own way.

      Not ten minutes after he made that decision, sneaking away from the gym
      before she caught him spying on her, his resolve was almost broken.

      Jubilee had been in his room again.

      A pink string bikini hung from the doorknob, a yellow sticky note
      attached to the tags. "Just thought you'd like a look at what you
      bought."

      He growled then grabbed the tiny scrap of material and crumpled it,
      flinging it across the room; it landed on the lampshade. He was grateful
      for the fact that Jubilee hadn't waited until after Rogue had worn them
      to slip them into his room. He didn't think he could have handled *that*
      with any sort of equanimity.

      A week later, he still hadn't approached Rogue, and she was now
      obviously keeping out of his way, leaving rooms when he arrived,
      avoiding the Danger Room and the gym when he was there. He was glad
      Jubilee had let him on her secret gym ritual, or he wouldn't have seen
      her at all. He treasured those early mornings, where he got to see her
      in a way no one else did. He knew he'd have to reveal himself sooner or
      later, but he was greedy, and not ready to give up something so special.
      He guarded the door whenever she was in there along. That morning when
      Scott had shown up at the gym looking to work out, he's sent him on his
      way with a growl.

      That afternoon, a pink silk bra appeared on his pillow. The note said,
      "So you have a matching set." He brought the flimsy garment to his nose,
      inhaling the light scent of perfume that must have come from the store,
      mixed with a hint of Rogue and a hint of Jubilee.

      He imagined how Marie would look wearing it, and even more interesting,
      how she'd look as he peeled it off her, revealing soft, full,
      pink-tipped breasts that fit perfectly into his hands. He remembered the
      feel of them in his hands, under his lips, her body arching into his.

      He wanted nothing more than to lie down on the bed and give in to the
      fantasies that were filling his head, but he knew that if he did, he'd
      never be able to stay away from Rogue, and he was bound and determined
      to beat Jubilee at this game. If he could hold out long enough, she'd
      give up and he could then go to Rogue on his own terms. That was all he
      really wanted now. He still wasn't sure if he would tell her how he felt
      now, or tell her that they needed to wait, that she had to do a little
      more living before he'd be comfortable even talking about a
      relationship, but he definitely needed to talk to her, to make things
      right between them.

      A relationship. Jesus Christ, he thought. The fact that he was even
      contemplating a relationship -- he, who ran every time a woman bought
      him a toothbrush and asked how he liked his eggs -- was scaring the hell
      out of him.

      He needed to be sure he was doing the right thing before he did
      *anything*. He reaffirmed his decision to wait a little longer, to not
      be pushed into action by Jubilee, of all people, and not because he was
      being led around by his dick.

      Which was currently demanding his attention, and as much as he told
      himself no, it didn't work. After showering, he took off and didn't come
      back until the next morning, trying to lose himself and his feelings in
      a bottle of bourbon and some random violence.

      He felt Rogue's eyes on him as she passed him in the hallway, and that
      just made it worse. He almost stopped her, apologized for being an
      asshole and ended the whole game right there, but he smelled of stale
      beer and cigar smoke, and for the first time in a long time, he felt
      shame.

      He was wrong for her. He could see disappointment in her eyes. It was
      the first time, but he knew it wouldn't be the last. Even if they got
      together, there were some things about him that could never be made
      right, and it bothered him that she would have to deal with them. Not
      quite enough for him to give up the idea of their ever being together,
      but enough to check him, to keep him from speaking right then, and
      possibly for quite a while to come.

      He pushed past her without a word, and after a couple hours of sleep,
      spent the day in the Danger Room, taking out his aggression on the
      holograms.

      Later, when Jubilee cornered him in the he living room, he wasn't in the
      mood for the game anymore, and he told her so.

      ***

      Rogue grabbed the popcorn from the microwave and dumped it into a large
      bowl. She took two bottles of Diet Coke from the fridge and headed
      toward the living room, where Jubilee waited with the movies.

      "Look, kid, I know what's going on." The sound of Logan's voice stopped
      her in the hallway. "I'll tell you right now, you're not going to win
      this game. So just cut it out. It'll be easier for all of us that way."

      She heard the snap of Jubilee's gum and then, "Fine. Sure. It makes it
      easier on *you*, you mean. I thought you wanted Rogue, but if you don't,
      don't be a prick. Go out and get laid if you need to. Whatever. But this
      isn't a game. Not anymore.

      "We had fun with it, but playtime's over, Logan. It's Rogue's feelings
      and her future we're dealing with, and if you think that's a game, then
      maybe you're better off just walking away. She certainly would be.
      Because your attitude is making us all miserable, Rogue especially, and
      it needs to stop."

      Rogue hurried back to the kitchen before either of them could discover
      her presence. She turned their conversation over in her mind. If Logan
      wanted to walk away, she would make it easy for him. The direct approach
      hadn't worked, and obviously, Plan B was a bust. She didn't want to
      manipulate him into saying things he didn't mean, or didn't want. She
      knew how much he hated that, and realized that the whole idea had been
      doomed from the start.

      If she really wanted him, loved him, she was going to have to let him --
      and her feelings for him -- go.

      If he really wanted her, loved her, he'd stick around.

      And in the end, that was all that mattered.

      She rushed to her room and, with grim determination, piled all her
      pretty new underwear on the bed. It symbolized the whole sorry plan, and
      she was just going to pack it up and put it away. Maybe she could return
      the items she hadn't worn, get some of Logan's money back. Apologize for
      trying to force him into something he wasn't ready for.

      She laughed at that, though it had a bitter edge to it. As if anyone
      could force the Wolverine into anything he didn't want to do. Anyone
      short of Magneto, anyway.

      She had almost all of it in a shopping bag, but the pink bra and
      matching string bikini were nowhere to be found. She growled in
      frustration. She thought she might keep that set, because it was so
      pretty, and she looked *good* in it, but she couldn't find it.

      She methodically searched each drawer, telling herself to be calm,
      because underwear just didn't get up and walk away by itself.

      Halfway through, Jubilee came into the room.

      "Whoa! What's with Hurricane Rogue?"

      Rogue slammed shut the drawer she'd been searching. "My new pink
      underwear is missing."

      Jubilee smiled. "Oh, I think I know where you can find it."

      ***

      Logan remained in the living room, Jubilee's words echoing in his head.
      He didn't just want to get laid. If the solution to his problem were
      that easy, he'd have taken care of it already, instead of jerking off
      twice a day imagining Marie in the skimpy underwear he'd bought her.

      And he didn't want to make her miserable, either. In fact, that was the
      last thing he wanted to do.

      But she was, and it was his fault.

      He knew he had two choices. He could go upstairs, pack his bags and walk
      away for good. Or he could go upstairs, find Rogue, and tell her that he
      wanted to be with her and see what happened.

      And he realized that, really, it was no choice at all. He'd spent the
      past sixteen years caring for nothing but himself, and it hadn't made
      him happy, hadn't helped him find his past, hadn't done *anything* for
      him except make him bitter and jaded.

      So maybe it was time for a change, a time to take a chance on something
      good. He knew they could both be hurt, but he was willing to bear pain
      if it carried the prospect of something good along with it. Rogue had
      obviously already decided it, long before he came back. It was kind of
      sad that an eighteen-year-old girl -- woman -- had figured it all out
      before he had. But that was just one more bit of evidence that she was
      mature, able to make her own decisions, and that she was better at it
      than he was.

      He stood slowly, and took a deep breath, preparing to face his future,
      and perhaps shed some of the burdens of his past.

      Then Jean marched into the room, a steely glint in her eye.

      He sighed.

      "I'm not in the mood, Red."

      That didn't deter her.

      "Well, maybe you'd better *get* in the mood, Logan."

      He blinked. He'd never heard her so pissed off -- never even thought
      she'd had it in her, despite the red hair. He opened his mouth to speak,
      but she steamrollered right over him.

      "I just spoke with Jubilee, and I'm telling you right now, if you hurt
      Rogue because of some stupid macho pride thing, I will twist that metal
      skeleton of yours into knots."

      "Uh--"

      "She loves you and you love her. Everyone can see it. So stop playing
      games and suck it up. Be a man and *tell her*."

      "I--"

      "I know what it's like to worry about people thinking you're taking
      advantage, but you can't let what other people say stop you, or hurt
      you, or the one you love. If I didn't truly believe that you and Rogue
      would be good for each other, I would never have encouraged her to
      pursue you, nor would I be here now telling you to get your ass upstairs
      and talk to her."

      "I was already on my way," he said meekly.

      "Good. Don't let this happen again." She turned on her heel and walked
      out.

      He bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing out loud. It was an
      odd feeling, one he wasn't used to, but he thought he could learn to
      like it. Then he went upstairs, hoping he didn't make a total fool of
      himself.

      ***

      She was in his room. The door was slightly ajar, and he could hear
      muttering and drawers being opened and closed.

      On the one hand, that made things easier; on the other, he wasn't sure
      he was really ready to tell her how he felt.

      He looked at the watch on his wrist, the gift that started this whole
      farce in the first place. If he hadn't kissed her that day...

      And that line of thought was completely useless, because he *had* kissed
      her, and he wanted to do it again at the earliest opportunity.

      He smirked as he thought of the bra and panties he had in his
      possession, and if this went well, maybe she'd model them for him
      tonight.

      He pushed open the door and leaned against the jamb, enjoying the view
      of Rogue bent over, rummaging through the bottom drawer of his dresser.

      "I'm going to kill you, Jubes," she said, then turned to face him. She
      gasped. "Logan!"

      "In the flesh, darlin'." He shut the door and let his gaze travel over
      her, from the tips of her bare toes, up her long legs, lingering just a
      little at her breasts. He had dreams about those breasts. The tee shirt
      she wore pulled tight across them and he had to swallow hard at the
      thought of making those dreams a reality.

      "What are you doing here?" she asked, breathless.

      "I think that's my line."

      "Uh--"

      "So, what are you doing here?" He moved to stand in front of her, so
      close that if she took a deep breath, those breasts would brush against
      him.

      She licked her lips, and dropped her gaze. He raised an eyebrow. "I
      thought I-- I mean, I --"

      He raised his arm and she took a step back. He reached around her to
      open the drawer on his night table, and grinned at her sharp intake of
      breath when he brushed against her. He pulled out the bra and panties.

      "Been wondering where these are?" he asked. She nodded. He leaned in
      close, his lips almost brushing her ear. "I've been wondering how they'd
      look on you."

      She cocked her head, and he could practically hear the thoughts whizzing
      around in there.

      After a moment, she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin, flipping
      her hair over her shoulders. "Well, why don't we find out?" Crossing her
      arms over her waist, she lifted the tee shirt over her head, baring
      herself to him. She wasn't wearing a bra.

      "God, Marie." The words were torn from him. The lingerie he'd been
      holding fluttered to the floor unnoticed as he grabbed her gloved wrist
      and pulled her against him; with his right hand, he reached into his
      back pocket and drew out a pair of supple leather gloves.

      Her body was strong, but soft in all the right places, her curves and
      hollows fitting perfectly into his embrace. She rubbed against him,
      purring like a cat, and twined her arms around his neck.

      "Kiss me, Logan," she said. "Please."

      Holding her against him with one ankle hooked around hers, he pulled the
      gloves on before stroking her lips. Then he brushed his mouth against
      them, so soft and quick that her skin didn't react. Then he pressed a
      little harder, molding her lips to his, feeling the tingle as the
      connection opened.

      Then he pulled away, just far enough to be safe.

      "You understand?" he said.

      She looked up at him, eyes sparkling. "Yeah. Kiss me again."

      He searched the room before lighting on the discarded tee shirt.

      "Give me one second, darlin'." He let her go long enough to snatch the
      thin bit of fabric from the floor and drape it over the lower half of
      her face. It was soft and worn from too many washings, and he could feel
      her through it. He kissed her hard and deep. She responded eagerly, her
      hands running through his hair and then skating down his back.

      "Take me to bed, Logan."

      "Are you sure?" he asked.

      She looked up at him though lowered lashes and pouted. "Don't you want
      to?" He opened his mouth to respond when she ground her hips into his.
      Then she met his gaze again, mischief plain on her face. He growled.
      God, did he want to. "I guess that's a yes, huh, big fella?"

      He swung her up into his arms. "I don't want to rush you," he admitted.
      He laid her down on the bed and settled between her parted legs.

      "I've been waiting a long time for this," she said, wrapping her arms
      around his neck and drawing him down to her.

      He stroked her jaw, cupped her cheek and ran a thumb over her eyebrow,
      trying to memorize her face by touch alone. "Waiting? For this? Or for
      me?"

      She smiled. "Both. For you mostly, though." He felt the fierce grin of
      triumph crease his face as he nuzzled at her neck. She tapped his
      shoulder lightly. "Don't get cocky. I could have had any guy I wanted."

      He laughed, then, full on laughter that he could feel all the way down
      to his toes, and he knew she could feel it too. He thrust his hips
      against hers. "I thought the whole point of this was to get... cocky."

      "Oh, man." She rolled her eyes. "You tell the worst jokes, Logan."

      "You said it, darlin', not me."

      "Did you catch the other part? The part about me having any guy I
      wanted?"

      "I did. I know." He didn't say it, but he hoped she knew how grateful he
      was that she'd waited, chosen him. He turned serious then. "Are you
      sure?" he said again, staring down into her eyes.

      "Yes, Logan. More sure than I've ever been about anything."

      "Okay, then. No waiting." He put the tee shirt over her mouth and kissed
      her again, luxuriating in the feel, scent and taste of her.

      "No time like the present," she murmured against his lips.

      He smiled and stole a quick glance at the watch. Everything since the
      day she'd give it to him had led to this moment.

      "Amen to that."

      end

      ***

      victoria

      --

      "What, do you want to tempt the wrath of the...whatever, from high atop
      the thing?" Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

      --

      The Muse's Fool: http://www.unfitforsociety.net/musesfool
      read my diary: http://musesfool.diaryland.com
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